The Alpine of Centro Sportivo Esercito is back among the greats on his favorite track in Val di Fiemme in the 15 Km Mass Start of the Tour de Ski beaten only by Klaebo and Golberg.
Lago di Tesero, Italy – Jan. 07th 2023 • Defast finally finds the smile again, and does so where it has always amazed everyone, on the Lago di Tesero track, scene of three world championship editions 1991, 2003, 2013, seventeen editions of Tour de Ski and, in the future, the Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympic Games.
To say that this is his ideal course is perhaps obvious, on these tracks Francesco has almost never made a mistake, if we exclude the 2022 edition when it was on of his skis that failed.
Today, 7 January 2023, the sun was shining in Lago di Tesero and De Fabiani had already been the Italian on the lips of all the insiders, technicians, organizers and FIS since the morning, who had interviewed him, the only one among men, in the pre-race, testifying the feeling that the strong skier from Gressoney has with this race.
Ready to go at 13.30, on time. Defast starts very well, always in front, always focused, always the boss. The Swedes with Poromaa and Halfvarsson took the lion's share in the first part of the race, then some flames from the French Lapalus, and finally the reds, the Norwegians, able to compete hard with Krüger, Holund, Golberg and obviously the GOAT, Klæbo.
The finish is crazy, Defast tries the progression on the Zorzi Climb, but is preceded by the Norwegians who try to make a gap. The last straight, not so friendly to the Italians, sees Klæbo fly, Golberg grabs second place and DeFast overtakes Canadian Cyr, surprise of the day, in the photo finish.
«Today – says Francesco, visibly happy – I found my smile again. I had been waiting for this race for a year and was eager to redeem myself. The start of the season was quite positive, always in good positions but never strong enough to take a podium. The condition is growing and in the Oberstdorf stage I felt good, but I missed the change of pace in the final, which has always distinguished me. Early today I was worried, I wasn't sure if I had a chance. I grit my teeth, I struggled a lot, in the last lap I over-boosted to close on the climb and in the end I managed to take the first podium of 2023».
«Val di Fiemme – he adds – is a second home for me, today the public was fantastic and I want to thank everyone and then huge thanks go to my Team, Team Italy, for preparing me some missile-fast skis, which helped me to recover along the straight. With 200 meters to go, I wasn't so sure I'd make it to the podium, but then I overtook Cyr a few meters from the finish line».
De Fabiani makes the last consideration speaking of Mocellini: «Yesterday Simone hit a fantastic podium in the Sprint, my congrats to him, it's not easy to get into the top 3 in the World Cup. It's an excellent sign for the future and I'm happy that finally there is someone else, besides Federico Pellegrino and me, capable of getting on the podium at these levels».
Tomorrow, January 8, the Cermis will take place, the last stage of the Tour de Ski – «let's hope – closes Francesco – first of all not to lose positions, since I've never had a great feeling with this final climb».
Press Office of Francesco De Fabiani
Written by Paolo Mei
Translated by Nicolò Caneparo